The cannabis industry continues to experience challenges to find sustainable Integrated Pest Management (IPM) solutions for control of the rice root aphid Rhopalosiphum rufiabdominalis. Root aphid apterous females fly/crawl into the foliage at maturity and commonly become stuck in the flower trichomes, where they compromise the quality of the finished product. As these aphids colonize cannabis roots, they are not accessible to soil predators and biocontrol solutions are lacking. To date, few registered products have shown reliable and high levels of activity against this pest. Multiple drench applications of the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (BotaniGard, BioWorks Inc.) does slow down their population growth, but results can be variable.
BioWorks and Niagara College have entered into a research collaboration to test various targeted root/soil-treatments for control of this pest. Two phases of initial trials have focused on evaluations of efficacy and (potential) phytotoxicity as part of course-based research projects.
Funding: The project is being funded in part by the Niagara College-led Greenhouse Technology Network (GTN), through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).